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Lessons From A Grocery Checkout Line

I have a friend, if not more-so an acquaintance. We both belong to and participate actively in a group on FaceBook that caters to parents of Special Needs children from around our general area of living. Some things, our kids share, but mostly don’t, in the terms of having diagnoses. In the end though, we love our kids with a passion, and are more widely accepting of children that “act out” and of their parents than most people in the general consensus of society.

Yesterday, this dear lady, who’s a mother of three, with two of them being Special Needs, told the group of a great story. Of courage. Of self-preservation. And of compassion.

My husband works for the Kroger Food & Drug grocery store. I had also been employed with them for a few years, up until my youngest, who is now seven years old was born. And his (now transferred) Grocery Manager, and he have a common bond.

They both have Special Needs kids. We only have our son, really. But the Grocery Manager has twin boys. And they are BOTH (severely) Autistic, and one is non-verbal. Both, like my son, have behavior issues, as well. ADHD, too. Both of our families have come under scrutiny out in the community. Mainly because of the aforementioned behavior issues. We have dealt with the stares, the head shakes, the whispers. And yes, even with the unwanted “advice”.

But what this one mother and her children went through, really speaks of all of us in one way or another. And of our children. When I grow up, I want to be JUST like her, I think.

Here, in HER own words (with names left out to protect her privacy, and that of her family), is a recount of what had transpired at her local Kroger store.

“We were in Krogers this evening checking out on a unplanned but unfortunately necessary grocery run, a disturbing event for all of my boys because of their sensory issues. My oldest son was turning over each of the boxes of chewing gum one by one so that the labels were all facing the same way. My 8 year old was clicking and rocking, and my 5 year old was pushing meltdown because of his discomfort being around so many people. My 17 month old daughter was beginning to overheat in the store, because the heater was turned up so high to overcome the cold outside. As I went to try to cool her off a bit by unzipping her jacket she began to fuss because she was becoming uncomfortable.

A woman in line in front of us who was already checking out said to the cashier “I hate it when mothers don’t take the initiative to discipline their children… Its so sad to see someone have so many kids.” The cashier knows our family, and looked at her in a bit of shock.

She said “The boys are autistic, and they’re pretty amazing kids.” The woman shook her head and started to say something under her breath about what a waste, and my 9 year old Aspie son turned sharply and snapped,….

“**I am not a disorder, I am a person.** Just because I appear not to be listening to you does not mean that I cannot hear what you say and do not understand it.”

She looked at me and said “Well, aren’t you going to say something to him?!” I looked at my son, I looked at the woman, and then I looked back to him. I was so proud, it was the first time that I’ve ever heard him speak up for himself, and he certainly doesn’t speak his mind or feelings often.

I paused and looked at him and said “You’re absolutely right bug… you’re an amazing kid.” And then I looked at her and shook my head, smiling. I said to her “Yes, its such a waste when people don’t try to understand what someone else might be going through.” She huffed, paid her bill, and then left the store.

The cashier smiled at me and said “He’s having a good day today, huh?” For everything these kids have been through this week, it wasn’t just a good day… it was freaking amazing.”

WOW! What an amazing testimony. And to me, not only did the mother and the son stand up for themselves, but they also stood up for ALL of us. Parents and afflicted kids alike! They said outright what so many of us want to say, but can’t. Maybe out of fear of retaliation. Maybe out of utter embarrassment of the situation (though not due to OUR actions/reactions). But they had the courage to do it. And I HIGHLY commend them for it.

So, for those of you reading this, and don’t really understand “our world”, please take note. Do not EVER judge a person or a situation solely by what you are seeing, or even hearing. If a child is doing something quirky (like moving/situating a space bar at the grocery checkout counter) but is in NO way harming you, then leave the person alone. If they are mumbling to themselves, don’t stand there and stare. When you think that someone cannot hear you, that’s when they can hear you the most. When our children are acting out, don’t just auto-assume that it’s a “bad seed” with parents that are just not willing to “parent” our child.

It’s people like you, that when you are THAT mean spirited to be as the lady in the checkout, that we hope, wish and pray that you too will end up having a child or a grandchild JUST like ours, to show you the ways of OUR life. Sometimes, lessons are learned the hard way.

Our children never asked to be the way that they are. For some, their minds are their own personal prisons or hells. They can be locked up inside. With barely being able to speak, think straight or communicate their needs and desires.

We as their parents and caregivers, struggle EVERY single day to make life as “normal” as we can for our children. Sure, we have to do SOME things differently with interaction and behavior management. But we take it on as a labor of love. Unconditional love. We see what you REFUSE to see.

So, the next time you see a child in the grocery store being “strange”, know that they CAN hear you. They DO see you. And they indeed HAVE feelings that can and DO get hurt because of oggling eyes and opened mouths, that seem to go right along with CLOSED minds. And us as parents WILL find you to be the DISABLED one.

"ADHD isn’t *anything* but a myth."

This dude’s nothing but a crock of crap! He is NOT a certified Medical Doctor (and actually ADMITS to such claim). And apparently, so is Depression. It’s a “moral dilemma”. The ADHD is an “imaginary” medical condition according to this dummy.

Ones like this asshat has NEVER had children most likely. Or never had kids with these disorders.

On The Merry-Go-Round We Go!..Again.

Well, another appointment has come and gone. Another one minus his Case Manager. THIS time, due to a death in the family.

First of all, we talked about B.’s medications and his eating “habits” of BARELY eating. Especially since again, he has lost weight and is showing the visible signs of it.

So, the doctor and I have decided to cut back some on his Vyvanse by 20 mgs. I will be placing the contents of the entire capsule in to a glass of water, pour out 2 ounces of a 7 oz. glass, then have him drink the other 5 oz. of water to consume 50 mg. of the medicine. I should know in a couple of weeks of doing this if it was the right move.

As for the Seroquel and the Intuniv, they are staying at the same dose of 50 mg. and 2 mg. amounts.

If push comes to shove, I will strongly consider a drug that is used in cancer patients to induce hunger and the wanting to eat. This would hopefully counter the unwillingness to eat and help him gain his weight and proper amount of muscle mass back.

His spinning/walking backwards is apparently a compulsive problem. He does this a lot. Like in Sears and the mall, where he almost knocked some things over and almost hit in to people.

And I found out that the noises and the sniffling (constantly most times) is a couple of tics that he has developed. But I cannot say for certain that it is medication-induced, or brain-induced tics. I think that at the next appointment in April (or was that March?), I will ask about that.

Also, his nose bleeds have been more active.

The highlight to all of this? He hasn’t been getting in to AS MUCH trouble in school as of late, with his behavior. Homework and attention? Still not that great. But we are working on it.

Spanking a Disabled Child vs Not Spanking & Punishment In General; SN vs NT Kids

I’m a spanking parent. I have spanked my son as needed through the years. Of course, he is of an age and height that I have been able to find other means of punishment (like taking toys/games/computer time away). But the youngest who is 7 years old, though a rare thing, still gets spanked IF the “punishment fits the crime”.

I have a friend on FaceBook who had been faced with a dilemma. Her child is three years old, disabled, and has yet to be diagnosed with Autism or any other mental delays. The other day at a family function, her husband had spanked their daughter for BITING, as well as hitting. And not a child, but another adult.

Her husband works a lot at his second shift job and only really sees the child on the weekends.

Mom isn’t much on spanking, but Dad is. And when the little girl bit and hit the adult, the Dad got a hold of his daughter and spanked her for her actions. Needless to say, Mom wasn’t pleased with how he handled the situation. She said it was more about the embarrassment of it happening in front of the family than anything else.

After hearing (or shall I say, reading) everything, I stated that the Mom can’t really be mad at him. If he isn’t able to be there due to working a lot, then he hasn’t had the time (or maybe even the energy) to be TAUGHT (by her) of what works best with their daughter. You cannot just “assume” he SHOULD know how to help handle her, when he isn’t there a lot of the time to learn by watching, listening or hands-on.

She needs to (calmly) approach him when they are BOTH free to get together, and talk with him and teach him what works best with your child. If she doesn’t take the time to voice to him what works/doesn’t work, then he won’t know the BEST options of how to punish/redirect/handle his child.

In time, she will learn the differences of when it’s her daughter just being a typical kid getting in to trouble, and between it REALLY being the disability showing through.

But even for as long as I have known the lowdown on my kid, I STILL have moments of wondering which way it is really swinging. In the end though, I try really, REALLY hard to NOT use the “he is disabled and has a lot of problems” excuse with him.

He is treated, talked to, and (most of the time) interacted with on the same level as his sisters. As in, he gets in to trouble just as much as they do.

I don’t let my kid use his disabilities as an excuse 100% of the time. If I do/did, then HE would think that he can get out of trouble ALL of the time.

To me, he is just as “normal” as his nutty sisters are. He is just more matter-of-fact and sensitive emotionally than the girls.

I sometimes get HIGHLY embarrassed due to my son’s actions, reactions and behaviors. No doubt. But even then, you cannot always “excuse” their behavior on their disabilities.

You have to learn and KEEP a balance between typical kid and disabled kid. Or else, they WILL grow up to think that they can (some literally) get away with murder.

And don’t EVER be embarrassed to defuse a situation (such as biting and hitting someone) in front of others. I have done it on many occasions and WON’T be afraid to do so in the future, if need be.

You just need to find that balance, and the key to successful behavior management where child’s concerned. Because they are unique individuals, and what works for me or any of the other parents, may not necessarily work for YOUR child, and you BOTH as their parents. There MUST be a middle ground that is firmly established.

Believe me when I say that I have had to (literally) peel my son off of one of his sisters as he bit them and used them for a punching bag. Seriously injuring the baby when she WAS a baby (bruises and a bonked head from being shoved off a toddler bed). Over NOTHING at all. Just got it in himself to start beating the holy hell out of her.

I don’t care if a person spanks or not. When it comes to hitting and biting, you MUST take care of the problem RIGHT THEN. Not later in the day. Be it if the child is one year old or 15 years old. Biting and hitting, especially an adult, or a child YOUNGER than the one doing the hitting/biting, is a huge “no-no” that has NO excuses.

In that instance, wrong is wrong. No matter the reason. No matter the mental capacity. No matter if the child is “normal” or “disabled”.

My philosophy is, if my “normal brained” girls are NOT allowed to behave in a certain manner (hitting, biting, stealing, cursing), then neither is my “mentally challenged” son.

How is honestly fair for me to excuse the actions of the one, and not of the two? That can and will build up resentment in his sisters against their brother, and against me if I was to excuse everything on the basis of his diagnoses.

Every single day it is indeed a struggle to find THAT balance between “normal childhood” behavior, and “disability-driven” behaviors. Some things though, should be no-brainer behaviors that no matter the mental capacity, should NEVER be tolerated or excused due to said disability.

And like a fellow group member had stated, not everything will work with everyone, nor will everyone believe that corporal punishment should be utilized. I say if used CORRECTLY and in the right situations, it CAN be an effective tool.

But not every offense deserves having a spanking. Just like not every offense deserves a month-long grounding.

I think a lot of my views stem from my own childhood. I WAS a disabled child. And my dad treated me as a normal kid. My mom on the other hand “babied” me. And she did it so much, to such an extent, that it really did tarnish my childhood, and made me resent her later on in life, for YEARS. Even after she died.

There is a time to use the “disability card” (my name for it), and when NOT to. Most times, it was just me being a kid. But to her, I did NO wrong, even when it was clear that I WAS in the wrong. So, I never got in trouble (if I did by her, it was VERY rare) unless my dad was there. And then, I got what he felt I deserved. Yes, that did include a spanking here and there.

The more I recall it all, and the more I think on it, I truly believe I got myself in to trouble, especially around my dad as much as I did, was because I THRIVED on it. I felt like a “normal” little kid.

If You Are A Parent Who is Being *Abused* By Your Kids…

First of all, know you aren’t alone with being physically ABUSED… yes, abused, by your child. I have been verbally, emotionally abused, assaulted and my life threatened. All by my child.

It had taken me a long time to accept the fact that I was being abused by my own child. When you are left with marks or scars because of your children’s actions, or you have things pulled out on you (like knives, hammers and scissors), and have your very LIFE IT’S SELF *threatened* and/or in jeopardy, that is constituted by law as ABUSE. Even if it’s by a minor child.

As for medications (no matter the reason for taking them), if you have stopped them, YES, you have to let the doctor know. Tell them exactly why you did it. They have to know for various reasons. That goes for ANY doctors that have taken charge of taking care of your child medically! They base what is being taken as to if they can use other meds for other reasons as to ensure that there isn’t any deadly mixings/cross medicatings.

If your child is getting so out of hand, no matter if just at home, both there and at school, or both of them AND within community settings (restaurants, the store, etc.), that behavior modifications (like a reward system and punishment system) are not working, then it MAY BE time to start thinking about ADD/ADHD (if they have it, too) medications and even Mood Stabilizers (like the Seroquel that B is on).

As for DENIAL that something is truly wrong with our kids, and the fact that they need more help than we can give on our own, we ALL go through it. Especially us moms of children such as ours. But also, you have to look at it from THEIR perspective, too.

Our kids do NOT want to be “bad” kids who are different in that view of them. All in all, they ARE *good* kids, but have brains that are hardwired completely different from their peers and from most other people in general.

Medications for the mentally unstable, for KIDS, has gotten SO many bad “reports”. Mainly from those that have NEVER even tried them, and are unwilling to try them for their children as a part of their overall therapy.

True, not every child NEEDS to be medicated. But, most of the time, the ones that NEED it, don’t get it, and the ones that DON’T need it, are the ones being “doped up”.

In the end, the ONLY ones that can determine for certain that your child needs medications that will help with their mental issues is you, the doctor in charge of your child’s care (Psychiatrist) and the child (more so their overall mental state).

Yes, I know that dealing with the agencies and doctors, and therapists CAN be a pain in the butt, in the end, it makes life SO much easier, when what SHOULD HAVE ALREADY been done IS being done.

Easier for them and their day-to-day life, and for US as their parents as well.

So Far, So Good.. Sort Of

EVERYTHING thus far in school is going well. For the most part. Mornings are a tad bit bumpy here at home. The usual grumpiness, and slight attitude in the voice. He had been non-compliant as of late in regards to getting a move on and ensuring he got everything accomplished, including medicine.

So he went to school without medication for two days last week. That’s on him. I have decided to not fight him. It’s HIS problem, not mine. Let the school call CPS on me for not drugging my kid.

I’m not fighting him in the morning anymore. I have OTHER kids to attend to and ready for school besides him. And I’m not up to having myself kicked, hit, punched and screamed at abusively anymore.

He is now in Fifth Grade. He needs to act like it. That includes making sure that BEFORE he leaves the house, to take his medicine. Or not being passive-aggressive when I mention the fact he needs to take it.

*Wander with me over at FOR THE LOVE OF BLOGS and join in the fun!*

Changes

On Tuesday, I had to work the Volunteer table at registration. After getting there, I registered the two kids that still will be attending (third is going to Middle School).

The School Nurse was seated in the Library and I was in the cafeteria. But this nurse was NOT the same nurse as from the previous school years. And knowing how busy she is, sometimes (due to health) she needs a sub nurse. Which is what I had thought of as I had seen the lady sitting at the desk.

Come to find out, that this woman IS the School Nurse, and is replacing the one that I have come to value as a friend, and whom my son was EXTREMELY attached to.

As I am sitting in my spot at Registration, another friend comes up, who’s child is going to Second grade, and is a Title 1 Reading Aide to say hi. We haven’t talked all summer. Well, then SHE to drops a bombshell. She is leaving at the end of the month to work in a Dentist’s office, in the same building as her twin sister.

Needless to say, telling B was no picnic. And he wasn’t all too happy. But also, where the School Nurse is concerned, I can ALREADY see it coming. That is, unless his Homeroom Teacher (and my oldest’s former teacher, and she also taught my husband in third grade, many moons ago) catches on to the tricks first and thwarts his idea.

B can be highly manipulative. And if you don’t know his subtle ways, his mannerisms and his voice changes, he can EASILY pull a fast one on you. And it usually happens when he doesn’t want to do something, trying to get out of classwork or a test or is in an environment he doesn’t care to be in at the moment.

The former school’s nurse knew ALL of his tricks. She knew when she needed to call me. She knew when she just needed to shoo him off back to class. She even knew when he HONESTLY did not get his Vyvanse that particular morning, and instead of calling, knowing B NEVER, EVER lies about it, just would give him his pill and then send him on his merry little way.

This year, I can see A LOT of phone calls from the nurse in my future. Then again, knowing the teacher, she will be able to catch him in his little cat/mouse game and thwart his ruse. Because she is just that covered and smothered in Awesome Sauce!.. I at least hope.